The Power of Our Words

Have you heard of Lauren Bush? I had not until recently. She is your typical 8th grade girl attending a Texas school. She also happens to be the winner of a nationwide contest for creating the winning PSA called “Word Play” for the “Unite Against Bullying Commercial” campaign. Her commercial is compelling and unfortunately true in our world today in regards to how words can be destructive and negative influences into our self worth. Depending on the version you watch, there are minimal to no words on the commercial, just a song playing as you watch a young girl walk down the halls of her school as words of hate and negativity are placed on her back. The commercial continues and plays out typical school scenarios where more negative words are taped to her back “defining” and bullying this girl. Then the commercial changes as a friend comes running down the hallway eager to cover the slander and hate marks that plaster her friends back and shape the way she thinks about herself. Negative words are replaced with positive and uplighting words like compassionate, smart, cherished, intelligent. Her friend has rescuing her from the hate words that were pulling her so far down.

Words are so powerful. They give life or destroy it. They have the ability to encourage someone or devastate someone. Just as the friend comes running down the hallway in the commercial to tape over the negative and destructive words, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus. How He comes running after you and me removing the ugly words and marks that the world places on us or that we allow the world to place to us. He takes away the associated bondage and sin that we live with daily and often times let define our entire life (if we let it). To me, the negative words in the commercial represent the ugliness we carry on our backs that weigh us down and that continually stunt our growth with Christ; instead we need a friend who comes running down the hallway replacing those negative words with positive words– giving true definition and meaning to our character and life calling. This “friend” can only be Him. The one who creates, defines, and loves. The one who gives structure and meaning to this crazy cold world.

I am a mom to a bright, spunky, and adorable 16 month-old girl and I am noticing just how much my daughter picks up from me, whether it be verbal or nonverbal. And if you know me well, you know that I have a multitude of non-verbal facial expressions and cues. However my little one doesn’t really pick-up on these yet, and so I find myself using ALOT of negative words for correction, often times out of frustration, stress, or shear exhaustion from sounding like I’m a human “Talk Boy” on repeat (if you are too young to know what a Talk Boy is, google it or watch Home Alone 2!). When I watched Lauren’s commercial it hit me, just how powerful words can be. Regardless of our age, gender, or profession in life, words are vital to our everyday relationships, well being, and sense of self. Parents can give words of love and growth to their children, co-workers can offer words of encouragement to others around them, and students can lift up other students with words of inspiration and applaud. You have to make a choice– will you lift up or tear down today? Will you say “I forgive” and show mercy or will you hold a grudge and drag down with your words? Just think about it, you could shape someone’s day or life by what you say (or don’t say!). You could be the positive word that cover up or take away so many negative words and thoughts that have been plastered to someone’s back for years. Even more importantly, you could turn to your Creator looking for Him to place those words of encouragement, sense of self, and calling on your back. So my prayer is that we would meditate on the words of Jesus from Matthew 12.36-37 (The Message):

Let me tell you something: every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation, words can also be your damnation. 

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